Hull City moved six points clear of the relegation zone as Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce suffered a frustrating first return to the KCOM Stadium.
Needing to win to keep alive any realistic chance of gatecrashing into the second automatic promotion slot, Villa flattered to deceive, more especially in a second half which was bossed by Hull.
After a bland first-half offering, the Tigers were much improved on the restart, with the only thing missing being a winning goal.
Villa had the better of a low-key half with the main animation for home supporters coming when Robert Snodgrass, jeered on his return to East Yorkshire, was cautioned for a heavy challenge on Jackson Irvine.
It was a half in which City defended manfully with Michael Dawson and the returning Angus MacDonald both making key last-ditch blocks, but going forward, the hosts toiled and created little, apart from a Harry Wilson strike, which drifted wide.
Villa applied most of the pressure and won glut of corners and enjoyed plenty of possession, but could not find a way through.
Their best moment arrived early on when Albert Adomah somehow scooped the ball over with the goal at his mercy following a pinpoint centre from Snodgrass.
Jack Grealish went close with a low shot, while John Terry headed over.
Thankfully, Hull showed more assertion and belief at the start of the second-half and went close when Seb Larsson's deflected free-kick broke for MacDonald, whose downward strike was tipped over by Sam Johnstone.
Substitute Jon Toral then went close just after the hour when he headed over following Max Clark's centre with Villa being slow to come out of the blocks on the restart.
Hull, marshalled superbly at the back by the excellent Michael Dawson, held sway with Toral having another good sight of goal, only to fire over when the ball broke.
Hull City: McGregor; Aina, Dawson, MacDonald (Hector 66), Clark; Larsson, Henriksen; Bowen, Irvine (Toral 59), Wilson (Grosicki 77); Hernandez. Substitutes unused: Marshall, Meyler, Campbell, Tomori.
Aston Villa: Johnstone; Tuanzebe (Elmohamady 75), Terry, Chester, Hutton; Jedinak (Kodjia 62); Snodgrass, Lansbury, Grealish, Adomah (Hogan 83); Grabban. Substitutes unused: Bunn, Hourihane, Bree, Onomah.
Referee: A Davies.